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My job explained: Speech and language therapist

My job explained: Speech and language therapistJane is a speech and language therapist specialising in deafness and hearing impairment.

What made you become a speech and language therapist?

Speech and language therapy deals with all aspects of communication not just speech and language difficulties. This is what makes it so fascinating and challenging.

What is the job like?

I decided to specialise in deafness and hearing impairment, and most of my work is with children. In my area, deaf children are integrated into mainstream schools, and for three days a week I work in these schools developing the total communication skills of children who have a range of hearing impairments. Some of the children can hear almost nothing, while others can hear sounds with the help of a hearing aid. Total communication is about developing communication skills as a whole — speech and language and social interaction, that is how to behave and communicate in different environments.

The rest of the week I work in a community clinic based at a health centre. Most of my clients are children between the ages of two and 16 years. They come in with a range of difficulties, such as speech delay or language disorder, or with a stammer or social interaction problems. Quite a few clients also have attention and listening difficulties. I assess the children and work with parents to help them develop their child's speech and language ability.

The job also involves giving advice and training to other health professionals who work with children, such as nursery nurses and health visitors, so they can identify and help children who have speech, language and communication difficulties.

What is your favourite part of the job?

I really enjoy my job. I like the problem-solving aspects of the work. You are constantly presented with challenges which develop your skills as a therapist. You are always learning, and you are certainly never bored.

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(Information taken from NHS Careers)